How are your clients feeling about the economy? Are they optimistic? Cautious? Both?
In a recent survey from Principal Financial, half of surveyed business owners (50%) said they are feeling optimistic about their economic outlook. That’s up from the year before. And when it comes to their business financials, 70 percent said they’ve improved significantly or somewhat from the previous year.
Those are great numbers. When business owners are feeling confident, they’re more likely to invest in their business and their people. And they’re more open to talking about enhancing their employee benefit package.
But be careful. While plenty of business owners are feeling the love, it’s important to keep sight of the fact that not everyone’s in the same place. In the same survey, 30 percent described themselves as cautious.
So, what does this mean for you? Well, consider each of your clients individually with these simple tips in mind.
1. Find out where they stand. Are they confident and perhaps prepared to boost their employee benefits? Or are they more cautious and looking for cost-saving measures? You have solutions for either disposition; but you can’t offer solutions to meet their needs until you identify their current point of view. All it takes is a conversation.
2. Change your approach based on how they’re feeling. If they’re confident and optimistic, talking about expanding their benefits should be on the table. Focus on how important benefits are to recruiting and retaining good employees. If they’re cautious or pessimistic, bring up voluntary benefits and other options that can help them offer value to employees, while also managing costs. Tread lightly when discussing benefits that are 100 percent employer-paid.
3. Be prepared to offer several options.
For the cautiously optimistic, find the middle ground. These business owners are generally optimistic about the future, but they realize something could go wrong. So hedge, and suggest some combination of employer-paid and voluntary solutions. This is also where funding options can be important in the conversation.
Things change, and the next time you connect with your clients, they may be feeling differently. So always start each conversation with some questions that help you assess how they’re feeling about the economy, their business, their finances and their future. You might make another sale. Or, you may uncover a detail that would suggest they’re planning to eliminate a benefit. Either way, you’ll want to know … and know sooner than later.
GP61983 | 4/2017